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  1. Well, not sure if this in the right area but here is as good as any to share our whole emigrating experience.... My sister emigrated to Sydney in 2009 and after a visit in Dec 2010 and years of wanting to we took the plunge..... I am 44 so was un-eligible for an independent skilled visa without sponsorship, I am a fully qualified & experienced electrical & electronics engineer, I have never struggled to change jobs in the UK if the situation has arisen. I applied for 85 jobs through Seek.com.au over a 2 month period at the start of this year and had no positive responses at all. Basically if you're overseas, from my experience it is almost impossible to get an interview let alone a job!!! I visited Sydney for a week as I was in Malaysia with work and achieved more in 1 hour on the phone than the on-line apps I had done. I basically cold called companies that I had sent my Resume to as a follow-up, I had several informal interviews with companies straight away!!! I applied online through Seek again for a job in Sydney that took my interest, only this time I put in the cover letter that I was in Sydney.....surprise surprise I had an interview 3 days later!! The leg work pays off....for real! I then had to go through the process of the 457 application, this again I had researched and heard several tales of many weeks, even months waiting. I am a firm believer in 'You get what you pay for' I didn't bother with a migration agent, I went straight to a Lawyer in Sydney who specializes in Migration, Katy Malyon & Assoc. It took about a week of emails back & forth to complete the application and 16 days later I had the 457 approved! Awesome, I think it counts for something when an application goes in under the umbrella of one of Australia's recognised best Migration Lawyers!!! This cost me £1100 but like I said 16 days to get the visa!!! Worth every penny. I had heard nothing but good about John Mason movers, so got a quote. They were not the cheapest, but also not the most expensive. I had a 20ft container myself and it was £4400 (inc. and extra £90 for delivery to the Central Coast which is about 70km from Sydney) I did exactly as they said, no baskets, no untreated wood and anything I did want to take that was untreated I lacquered beforehand. I cleaned everything meticulously & I mean meticulously! It all had a dousing with Zoflora and stank of lemons!! There was not a speck of dirt on anything (mountain bike tyres cleaned with toothbrushes etc), we brought camping gear, bikes, tools (loads of) etc as well as my Kawasaki ZX9R, this was also cleaned to an inch of its life! The container left the UK on fri 25th June, it was delivered to our home in Australia on Friday 2nd Sept. No customs or quarantine charges to pay! Other than the mandatory charges ($387 for the personal effects inspection & $187 for the motorbike to be inspected) Prior to leaving the UK I had applied for a vehicle import authority from the Dept of Infrastructure here, it's a ballache procedure that apparently I subsequently found out you can email! However it takes a long time to get and costs $50. You must have this before the bike arrives in Australia, mine was issued the day the container shipped!So I had to email it to the agents for John Mason in Sydney. No worries there. Before a motorbike gets customs clearance you have to put a value on it, if you have owned it since before Mar 98 then it is a case of taking the price on the receipt and depreciating it by 76%, you then convert the price to $ and then 10% of that is the NSW GST (Tax) that you will have to pay, I had to pay another $75 or so for handling fees & import fees on top so all in all I had a bill from the import agents for $320, its worth more than double the value in the UK here. You have to collect motorbikes from the shipping agent as most removers won't deliver them with your personal effects. Expect to have golf clubs, tents, shoes, christmas decs, bikes & a token random box or two inspected by quarantine, careful labelling of boxes by the packers helps here!!! But make sure it is all spotless!!! Every second spent cleaning in the UK is worth it has the fees for cleaning in Australia by AQIS are very expensive!!! The agents that John Mason used in Sydney were Wridgways, they were great with regular updates on the progress etc of our container through the formalities, although they were uncertain of the bike value thing so keep a check on whats what if importing vehicles! Do your research and all will be good. Our stuff was delivered & unpacked by Wridgways perfectly, nothing was damaged or missing, in fact there were several items we didn't even know had been packed from our UK house!!! Rentals here are a whole different ball game to the UK, bring neighbour references with you and get as much id as quickly as possible in Australia (mobile bill, bank statements etc ect) Real Estate agents call the shots and choose who gets what, so be careful on what you say to who!! After setting off from the UK a little over 11 weeks we are now settled in our home 2km from the Ocean and been through a winter of low temps to 1-2 degs at night & av day of about 15, with plenty of rain though! On the main it's warm & sunny though which is awesome! We are settling very fast and everyone is happy. I found an immense satisfaction with every UK plug I cut off of electrical items to replace with Aussie ones!!! We really are living the dream, it's not cheap in NSW but it's all the things money can't buy that make it worth the move! Recommendations..... Use a damn good lawyer for visa apps - Remember this is a once in a life opportunity Use a damn good shipper and do as they recommend, it could save you a fortune Save as much cash as possible before coming here, those initial couple of months are uber expensive! Be careful on how the shipper labels things, certain items are targeted! Make 200% sure that everything is spotless! Have fun - we are!!!:biggrin: Hope that some of this is of interest, if not then sorry!!! Any queries then pm me! Cheers Wayne